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Sue Ogrocki/AP

Contracts to buy previously-owned homes fell in January, according to the National Association of Realtors, calling into question the sustainability of a recent increase in existing home sales. Markets, however, are largely ignoring the data, accepting instead the NAR's explanation that it is low inventory, rather than low demand, putting a lid on the number of existing homes to be sold. Homebuilder stocks were up 1.43% Monday morning, while the broader market rose slightly.

Why it matters: Investors continue to look on the bright side of whatever new information is given. This attitude could launch the Dow Jones to a 12th-straight record-high today, if it can set records today and tomorrow it will tie a 1987 high for longest string of record closes.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.